NIU FINISHES MAC EAST VS OHIO
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (8-14, 2-8 MAC) concludes Mid-American Conference cross-divisional play when it hosts the Ohio Bobcats (6-17, 2-8 MAC), Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Northern Illinois can tie up the all-time series with a win against the Bobcats, Wednesday. Ohio currently leads the series, which dates back to 1982. The Huskies’ win last season snapped a four-game streak of Ohio victories, which followed four wins in a row by NIU.
LAST TIME AGAINST OHIO
The Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team withstood a second half rally by Ohio to improve to 5-1 in league play, defeating the Bobcats, 67-59, in the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
With the Huskies up 49-35 with 12:54 left to play, Ohio went on a 14-2 run to pull within two of NIU, 51-49, with 8:16 left in the game. A layup by Ebony Ellis and a three pointer by Kylie York settled things for the Huskies and gave NIU a 56-49 lead with six minutes left in the contest.
With an eight-point lead with 2:19 left, it appeared as if NIU would begin to distance themselves from the Bobcats. However, a three pointer from Ohio’s Jenny Poff cut the Huskie lead to 61-56 with just over two minutes left to play. Back to-back three pointers from senior Jessie Wilcox gave NIU a 67-57 lead with a minute left to play and ended any Bobcat hopes for victory.
Wilcox and Ellis led the way for the Huskies, each scoring a game-high 19 points. Wilcox also led the team with five assists and four steals. Ellis’ 19 points was a career high for the then-sophomore center. She also posted her fourth double-double of the season grabbing a game-high 11 boards. Mauvolyene Adams had a strong day on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds in addition to her five points. The Huskies out-rebounded Ohio, 44-33.
The Huskies made a season-high nine three pointers in the game, shooting 45 percent from three-point land, going 9-for-20 from beyond the arc. Wilcox, who went 7-of-15 from the field, was 5-of-12 from three-point territory. She now sits in fifth on the Huskies all-time three-pointers made list with 126 treys in her career.
With five wins in their first six games, the Huskies got off to their best start in conference play since the 1993-94 season when NIU won its first six Mid-Continent Conference games en route to an 18-0 MCC finish.
ABOUT THE BOBCATS
The Bobcats enter Wednesday’s showdown with a 6-17 overall record, and a 2-8 mark in league play. Ohio is currently in sixth place in the MAC East, coming off of losses to Toledo and Western Michigan.
The Bobcats hold MAC wins over Ball State (62-59) and Akron (64-63), but have won only once on the road, a 57-43 non-conference victory at Utah Valley. Jenny Poff leads the down-tempo Bobcats, who average just 56.3 points per game, with 11.3 points per game. Jennifer Bushby also averages in double figures with a 10.2 scoring average.
ON THE AIR
Every NIU basketball game of the 2009-10 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois ISP Sports Radio Network. Women’s games can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and online at www.niuhuskies.com through Huskie All-Access.
DEFENSE DIALS IN
The Huskie defense dialed in during the first half of the Akron game. NIU allowed just 22 points on 7-of-26 (26.8 percent) shooting by the Zips. For the game, the Huskies held Akron to just 57 points, the second-lowest MAC opponent point total of the season. NIU limited Western Michigan to 47 points and held Western Illinois to just 50.
Marke Freeman is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. Her 20.4 points per game rank second in the league, while her 4.6 assists per game are second best. She also ranks 8th in rebounding with a 5.6 rpg average.
ANOTHER RECORD TO CHASE
Senior Kylie York is en route to becoming the 25th member of the Northern Illinois 1,000-Point Club. York has scored 949 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 780 points on 260 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history.
“GUARDING” THE BOARDS
Northern Illinois guards Marke Freeman and Sarah Rogers both rank in the MAC’s top-20 for rebounding in conference play. They are also the two shortest players on the list. Rogers, who stands 5-8, ranks eighth in the league with 7.4 boards per game. At just 5-5, Freeman ranks tied for 18th with 5.6 per contest. Only one other guard is in the rankings. Freeman and Rogers are the only guards on the league’s top-20.
BIG MARGINS IN OVERTIME
Since last season, NIU has gone 5-1 in overtime games. In the four wins, the Huskies have outdone their opponents by 6.9 points per game. Most recently, NIU beat Buffalo 93-88 after trailing by as much as 16 in the second half. The Huskies also defeated Loyola in OT this season, downing the Ramblers on the road, 74-65.
Junior Marke Freeman was named MAC West Player of the Week, Monday, Jan. 25, after averaging 25.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game against Central Michigan and Buffalo. Freeman scored a career-high 36 against the Bulls, including two late lay-ups that finished a 16-point NIU comeback to send the game to overtime. The award is the second in three weeks for the Springfield, Ill. native. With Ebony Ellis’ two Player of the Week selections, NIU has earned the honor four times in a season for the first time since rejoining the MAC in 1997-98.
Marke Freeman has been creating for her teammates at a high rate over the last seven games. After averaging 2.4 assists for the first nine games of the year, she’s dished out 64 assists in the last 13 match-ups (4.9 per game). That total includes a career-best nine-assist night against Toledo. Her rebounding is also up, from 3.7 to 6.0 per game.
HEARTS ON SLEEVES
Northern Illinois has overcome three second-half deficits of nine or more this season. The Huskies trailed by 16 to Buffalo with 13 minutes left, and came back to win by five in overtime. NIU outscored UIC by 16 over the last nine minutes to extinguish the Flames by seven. The Huskies were down by 14 with 12 minutes left at Chicago State and came back to win by five. NIU also held off a charging Loyola team to win on the road by 10 in overtime.
HAY-WOOD YA BLOCK A SHOT?
Freshman forward Shaakira Haywood has wasted no time making herself known to players who venture into the paint. Haywood ranks ninth in the MAC in blocked shots with 10 in league play. The rookie has blocked three shots in a game three times this season, most recently against Akron. She is averaging 2.6 blocks per 40 minutes played.
Marke Freeman dished out a season-best nine assists against Toledo, demonstrating that her play-making ability goes well beyond scoring. In league play, she ranks third in the league in MAC play with 4.6 assists per game.
Marke Freeman leads the MAC in steals with 2.9 per game. She set a career-high with eight steals at No. 24 Nebraska. The junior swiped three in the first half and five in the second period. The total is tied for the fifth-most in a game in NIU history. That record is currently held by Huskie head coach Carol Owens, who totaled 11 steals against Western Illinois in 1988. More recently, she totaled seven steals against Miami.
Ten of the 11 players on the Northern Illinois roster have registered career-highs this season. Marke Freeman scored a career-high 36 against Buffalo, the fifth time this season she has set a new career-high. Other Huskies with career-highs include Ebony Ellis (23, vs. Loyola), Mauvolyene Adams (22, vs. SIU), Sarah Rogers (14, vs. CMU), Tenisha Wilson (10, at Milwaukee), Courtney Shelton (15, vs. Buffalo), and Terriel Cannon (14 vs. Buffalo). Freshmen Shaakira Haywood and Brittney Callahan’s career-highs stand at six and seven, respectively.
The frontcourt combination of Ebony Ellis and Mauvolyene Adams has totaled 13 double-doubles in 18 games this season. Adams has totaled eight, while Ellis registered at least 10 and 10 in five contests. Marke Freeman added her name to the double-double decadence with 25 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against Kent State.
A NEW CAREER LEADER
Kylie York, the lone senior for the Huskies, hit four three-pointers against Loyola to become the top three-point shooter in NIU history. York surpassed the previous NIU record of 221 career treys, held by Denise Dove since 1991, and now has 260 for her career. York holds the second and third slot for threes in a season.
She hit 77 as a sophomore, knocked down 76 last season, and ranks second in the MAC with 59 makes this year. Dove also ranks first for threes in a season at 80, with York now just 21 back.